The 2016 Summer Olympic games opened in the host city of Rio de Janiero this week. I was filled with anticipation to watch the opening games. It was spectacular. The fantastic showing of Brazilians proudly displaying their culture, music, and city was truly a sight to see. I was impressed with the artistic impression of it all. I feel drawn to Rio.
What impressed me the most was the realization of the contrast to what was displayed in the ceremonial opening of the Olympic games. There is a dichotomy that exists in their culture. Extreme poverty is the reality of the city. Yet, it is the reality in most of our cities, and countries all over the world. It is a part of us. It is with all of us. We are not devoid of this. The world continues.
While watching the opening ceremony I noticed that the next to the last team that walked in was the Olympic Refugee Team. Wow. These are people that have overcome immense odds against living and training in their sport. Their stories are of the impossible and yet they made it! They are in Rio! Their dreams of competing at the Olympic level has arrived. Some say, it doesn’t matter how it happens as long as you arrive. I wonder if that is correct. I think the process of getting there, the in-between, is the part that matters most. After all, one cannot arrive without the in-between. So from this perspective, it matters.
To arrive after such odds has much to do with perseverance. Endurance builds upon each sacrifice and act of determination and strong will. While I believe all Olympic athletes have this in common I also believe there are some that have to try harder to be where they are. There are a lot of countries with a lack of facilities and sponsors but seem to punch out the best athletes. Take for example in the 1970’s when the country of Romania proudly displayed Olga and Nadia. They hardly came from a place of privilege or state of the art facilities, but I have no doubt their training had to be harder and longer.
My favorite part of the summer Olympics are the track and field events. I remember as a teenager I would spend my late night summers watching the track and field events in my bedroom while the rest of my family was asleep. I remember track star Evelyn Ashford in 1984, and then came Gale Devers, and the late Florence Griffith-Joyner (“Flo-Jo”). This Olympics my eyes will be on Allyson Felix, who overcame a devastating injury and has arrived!
I think it is obvious that running is my favorite Olympic sport. There is something about running I believe demonstrates what it means to persevere. You can’t fake running. Whether as a sprinter, middle-distancer, or marathoner, running takes time and patience. You have to be good at waiting to be a good runner. I have become a better runner in time. With age has come endurance, strength of mind, and the will to persevere.
My running has spanned 25 plus years. During this time lots of life has happened. I have run thousands of miles and I think it is safe to say that I have averaged 26,000 miles to date, and a whole lot of shoes.
My current shoes are in dire need of replacing. They are three years old which is much too old in the world of running. The foam is coming out from inside, and the soles are wearing through. However, what I think most about when I look at my shoes are all the memories my shoes have collected throughout these last three years. My shoes reflect where my thoughts have gone and where my heart has been. They remained with me during good times and bad times. Each time my shoes have been faithful to carry me through.
So it is when I think of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He carries us through the good and the bad. With Him we can run with endurance and persevere. “He is the wind in my hair and the lift beneath my feet.” Because of Him I am on the run: running on the road, running on the track, running on the ground, and running on the Rio.
In closing and with commemoration of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janiero, join me so together we are “Running on the Rio.”
In His service,
Copyright 2016 The Word in Motion